Ministry moves forward in Kazakhstan despite religion law rumbling

By May 11, 2009

Kazakhstan (MNN) — Kazakhstan's
Constitutional Council rejected the restrictive draft religion law as

The law was amended in late 2008
to include mandating a fixed fine of 50 times the minimum monthly salary for
those found guilty of worshipping, building or opening places of worship, or
publishing or distributing religious literature without government permission.

The amendment also required both
parents to give permission before a child could attend a religious event, and
it would ban believers from expressing their faith beyond their "own

Speculation is rife over the international
pressure that played a role in the Council's decision. Kazakhstan is due to assume the helm of the
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in 2010. Such a restrictive
religion law flies in the face of what the OSCE stands for. 

It may LOOK dead, but Carl Kresge with SEND
says, "I wouldn't be surprised if we see
something similar — another push to try to restrict religious freedom. This
isn't the first time, and it probably won't be the last."

As debate raged, their team did
not change ministry. They won't in the
future, either, even with the rumblings of revisiting the law in 2011.
"We're always aware that there are elements in the country that wish we
weren't there. We know that we're there
legally, openly, and with a religious visa that comes by an invitation from
the Baptist Union Churches." 

Believers are actively building
mercy ministries with drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs, kindergartens,
ministry to the elderly, orphanages, children's clubs, youth ministry and new

SEND works to strengthen the
local church as it shares the Gospel in Kazakhstan. "Pray that the Lord
would continue to give us an open door to be able to work with the evangelical
churches in the country, to be able to serve them, [and] to help them proclaim the
Gospel in that country."

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